Let’s hear it for Luke Moore High Environmental Scientists!!

Luke Moore Academy, the premier alternative high school in the District of Columbia (and also where I work)  is joining DCPS in its efforts to go GREEN by starting a recycling program at the school. Students recently gave a presentation at a school wide assembly and community event stating that:

“We have started a recycling program at Luke C. Moore that will minimize the waste generation and will facilitate recycling of materials. This initiative is student-led, and will allow our students to be the leaders of this program. Our desire to become more environmentally friendly and help lead DCPS in the Healthy Schools Act, as well as develop our peers into lifelong recyclers.”

Each classroom has a recycling box (that’s a pic of my box) that the Environmental Team picks up to dump in the container in the parking lot.

Here at Luke C. Moore, we are also concerned about our use of energy, so we  use Compact Florescent Bulbs, or CFL Bulbs, which are significantly more environmentally friendly than regular light bulbs. Our CFL bulbs last TEN times as long as regular bulbs, up to 8000 hours each – compared to 750 hours of those regular bulbs. The team has determined that our school had 350 CFL bulbs that are used on a daily basis. They  then compared those numbers to schools with a similar amount of bulbs, who use regular light bulbs. Our numbers confirm that Luke Moore is saving the District $5,000 a month by using CFL bulbs. On the emissions side, Luke Moore is outputting 4000 pounds less of Carbon Dioxide per year than schools our size.

In the classroom and in the field, the team has done a lot to make sure that our school is helping out our community! Please join us in helping to make DC an environmentally friendly city by, recycling and changing your light bulbs to new CFL Bulbs! And we hope this inspires you to start a program at your school too. Peace

DCPS Goes Green: Peace through Sustainability

District of Columbia Public Schools is participating in the Be Water Wise DC project as part of its initiative to go GREEN.

“Be Water Wise DC was established by the nonprofit National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) and includes lesson plans and activities such as measuring water flow rates and determining total water use in school buildings and grounds. The program is made possible through the support of companies such as lead sponsor HSBC Bank, as well as local agencies and nonprofit organizations committed to protecting the region’s natural resources.

Managing stormwater is a challenge for D.C. and the region. When it rains, water flows across streets, sidewalks and parking lots. Along the way, the rainwater picks up oil, trash and other contaminants, carrying them to streams and rivers including the Anacostia and Potomac and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.”

Check out this link for a detailed explanation of the project by Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of DC Public Schools: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_vVDhQfajvI

The video gives a very good summary and it’s impressive that they have so many schools participating and that it involves students of different ages.  I really like that students get  very hands-on with this project with the types of activities that they do in their schools and the local communities to help with water conservation in DC, and the concluding activity where they get to present their solutions to DC officials is definitely something students would look forward to.  This projects supports community building as it involves students and officials collaborating to create solutions for a problem that affects the DC area and also is a skill building activity because students are using critical thinking for problem solving, interpersonal skills by working together, and it’s an extension of the classroom space into the community.

For more information about Be Water Wise, please visit the National Environmental Education Foundation.

Let’s talk about peace and possibly get rewarded for it: National Peace Essay Contest for High School Students

The National Peace Essay Contest for high school students sponsored by the The Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding, the education and training sector of the United States Institute of Peace, is a way to incentivize high school educators and students to include peace talks as part of curriculum especially for history, government and social studies content areas. According to the institute the goal of the contest is to “promote serious discussion among high school students, teachers, and national leaders about international peace and conflict resolution today and in the future.”

The incentives for educators include the fact that the activity complements existing curricula and other scholastic activities and meets National Contents Standards, which is the direction that most school districts, including the District of Columbia is heading in. Students’ incentives include skill building in the areas of research, writing, and reasoning skills. Additionally, first place state winners receive scholarships and are invited to Washington for a five-day awards program. The Institute pays for expenses related to the program, including travel, lodging, meals and entertainment. This unique five-day program promotes an understanding of the nature and process of international peacemaking by focusing on a region and/or theme related to the current essay contest.

Educators can incorporate this contest as part of a reframing history activity by having students analyze past national or world conflicts and reevaluate outcomes applying the concepts of peace studies such as exploring approaches to peace and how those past violent conflicts could have been transformed non-violently. Students will be exposed to a different way to view conflict in the world and begin to generate ideas about how to resolve those conflicts while maintaining peace, justice, human rights and security in the world, as well as begin to examine what their personal roles are as global citizens in the effort for peace.

Check out contest information at: http://www.usip.org/npec